US urges DRC leaders to act peacefully
Washington - The United States urged DR Congo political leaders on Friday to sort out differences peacefully after President Joseph Kabila's rival rejected election results that gave a victory to the incumbent.
"We continue to call on all Congolese political leaders and their supporters to act responsibly, to renounce violence, to resolve any disagreements they might have through peaceful dialogue and existing legal remedies," state department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters.
"The government of the DRC remains responsible for providing security for the people of the Congo, and any person who uses or incites violence to derail the democratic process should be held accountable."
She also called on electoral authorities to ensure the credibility of the results by exercising "maximum openness and transparency".
Delayed results from the vast African country's second democratic election gave 49% of the vote to Kabila, who has been in power since 2001.
His rival Etienne Tshisekedi rejected the result and declared himself president, after which protesters set tyres on fire and threw stones at armed police who fired tear gas to disperse them.
The state department urged all Americans to avoid non-essential travel to the Democratic Republic of Congo until at least the end of the year.
US diplomats have been given orders not to leave the business district of the capital Kinshasa.
The state department "strongly urges US citizens to avoid all demonstrations as even peaceful ones can quickly become unruly and a foreigner could unexpectedly become a victim of harassment or more serious violence", a notice said.